Duke of Orléans  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Duke of Orléans (Duc d'Orléans) was one of the highest ranking titles of the French peerage and dates back to the 14th century. Known as princes of the blood (princes du sang), the title of Duke of Orleans was exclusive to princes of the nearest collateral line of the royal family; thus they constituted a junior branch of the ruling house, second in seniority only to members of the primary line.

During the period of the ancien régime the holder of the title often assumed a political role. The Orléans came to the throne with Louis XII (15th century). Louis Philippe II, fifth Duke of Orleans, contributed to the destruction of the ancien regime. At the head of a retrospectively named 'Orleanist' faction centred on the Palais Royal, he contested the authority of his cousin Louis XVI in the adjacent Louvre. It was his son who would eventually ascend the throne in 1830 following the July Revolution as Louis-Philippe I, King of France. The descendants of the family are the Orléanist pretenders to the French throne, and the title has been used by several members of the House. The holder of the title held the style of Serene Highness.


House of Valois

First creation (1344)

Name Portrait Lifespan Parents
Philip of Valois
Image:Blason Philippe de France (1336-1375) duc d'Orléans.svg July 1, 1336 -
September 1, 1376
Philip VI of France
Joan the Lame

Second creation (1392)

Name Portrait Lifespan Parents
Louis I
Image:LouisOrlean ChristinaPisan.jpg March 13, 1372 -
November 23, 1407
Charles V of France
Joanna of Bourbon
Charles I
Image:Charles Ier d'Orléans.jpg November 24, 1394 -
January 5, 1465
Louis I, Duke of Orléans
Valentina Visconti
Louis II
Image:Ludvig XII av Frankrike på målning från 1500-talet.jpg June 27, 1462 -
January 1, 1515
Charles I, Duke of Orléans
Marie of Cleves

Third creation (1519)

Name Portrait Lifespan Parents
Henry I
100px March 31, 1519 –
July 10, 1559
Francis I of France
Claude of France
Charles II
January 22, 1522 –
September 9, 1545
Francis I of France
Claude of France
Louis III
3 February –
24 October 1549
Henry II, King of France
Catherine de' Medici
Charles III Maximilian
Image:François Clouet 005.jpg June 27, 1550 –
May 30, 1574
Henry II, King of France
Catherine de' Medici
Henry II
Image:Anjou 1570louvre.jpg September 19, 1551 –
August 2, 1589
Henry II, King of France
Catherine de' Medici

House of Bourbon

Fourth creation (1607)

Name Portrait Lifespan Parents
Nicholas Henri
Image:Nicolas de bourbon.jpg 16 April 1607 -
17 November 1611
Henry IV of France
Marie de' Medici

Fifth creation (1626)

At the death of Nicholas Henri, his younger brother Gaston was given the title of Orléans but was not officially allowed to be styled as the Duke of Orléans till his marriage with the heiress Marie de Bourbon, Duchess de Montpensier in her own right (she had been betrothed to Nicholas at the age of 3). They were the parents of Anne Marie Louise of Orléans, Duchess of Montpensier. At her death in 1693, much of her vast wealth went to her cousin, Philippe I, Duke of Orléans.

Name Portrait Lifespan Parents
Image:Gaston de France 1634.jpg 25 April 1608 -
2 February 1660
Henry IV of France
Marie de' Medici

Sixth creation (1660)

Upon the death of Gaston of Orléans, the Appanage of the Duchy of Orléans reverted back to the crown. The appanage was given to Philippe, the brother of Louis XIV of France.

It was Philippe and his second wife, the famous court writer Elizabeth Charlotte of the Palatinate, founded the modern House of Orléans - their surviving son being the Regent of France for the young Louis XV.

As a Fils de France, Philippe was styled as Philippe of France (Philippe de France). Upon his death, his son inherited but as only a Petit-Fils de France (Grandson of France via Louis XIII) he had to revert to the surname of Orléans. Philippe I de France was addressed as Royal Highness (Son Altesse royale) as was his son Philippe II. Philippe I was also known as Monsieur at his brothers court. At the death of Philippe II, his son Louis d'Orléans took the title and took on the style of Serene Highness as the head of the cadet branch of the House of Bourbon. His son and grandson would take on the style on their successions. After 1709, the Orléans branch of the House of Bourbon were the First Princes of the Blood - this meant that the dukes could be addressed as Monsieur le Prince and that, should there be no possilble heirs to the throne of France, then the Orléans family could claim it.

Name Portrait Lifespan Parents
Philippe I
Image:Philippe1erOrleans B.jpg September 21, 1640 -
June 8, 1701
Louis XIII of France
Infanta Ana of Spain
Philippe II
Image:Philippe d'Orleans, regent, et Marie Madeleine de la Vieuville, Comtesse de Parabere (Jean-Baptiste Santerre).jpg August 2, 1674 -
December 2, 1723
Philippe I, Duke of Orléans
Elizabeth Charlotte of the Palatinate
Image:Louis-Orleans.jpg August 4, 1703 -
February 4, 1752
Philippe II, Duke of Orléans
Françoise-Marie de Bourbon
Louis Philippe I
Image:Louis-Philippe1.jpg May 12, 1725 -
November 18, 1785
Louis, Duke of Orléans
Margravine Auguste Marie Johanna of Baden-Baden
Louis Philippe II
Image:Louis Philippe Joseph d'Orléans.jpg April 13, 1747 -
November 6, 1793
Louis Philippe I, Duke of Orléans
Louise Henriette de Bourbon
Louis Philippe III
Image:Louis-Philippe de Bourbon.jpg 6 October 1773 -
August 26, 1850
Louis Philippe II, Duke of Orléans
Louise Marie Adélaïde de Bourbon
Ferdinand Philippe
Image:Ferdinand-P.JPG September 3, 1810 -
July 13, 1842
Louis Philippe III, Duke of Orléans
Princess Maria Amalia Teresa of the Two Sicilies
(did not use the title)
Image:Phillipe, Comte de Paris.jpg 24 August 1838 –
8 September 1894
Ferdinand Philippe, Duke of Orléans
Duchess Helen of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
Image:Felipd'OrleansOrleans.jpg August 24, 1869 -
March 28, 1926
Philippe, Count of Paris
Princess Marie Isabelle of Orléans

Other Dukes

Members of the House of Orléans

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